​OSHA’s Proposed Rule on Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica

 

ICE Position:

 

ICE supports the comments on OSHA’s proposed silica standard submitted by the Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC), a coalition of 25 trade associations representing virtually every aspect of the construction industry.

 

The Issue:

 

  • Crystalline silica is ubiquitous on construction sites throughout the country.  It is omnipresent in almost everything that is done on a construction site, and the Construction Industry Safety Coalition recognizes the hazards posed by it at construction worksites.

  • OSHA has proposed a new standard for exposure to crystalline silica that reduces the permissible exposure limit (“PEL”) for silica for construction work from the current level of 250 µg/m³ (micrograms per cubic meter) to 50 µg/m³.  The Agency is also proposing an action level (“AL”) of 25 µg/m³.

  • There are also numerous ancillary requirements including exposure monitoring, requirements for regulated areas or written access control plans; prohibitions on work practices on construction sites such as compressed air, dry sweeping and dry brushing; medical surveillance; respiratory protection; training and hazard communication; and recordkeeping.

  • The CISC does not believe that OSHA has shown that the proposed PEL is technologically feasible.  OSHA has not identified all of the construction tasks and worker job categories that would be affected by the proposed rule.   It has omitted 1.5 million workers in the construction industry who routinely perform dusty tasks with silica-containing materials.  These workers include plumbers and helpers, roofers, electricians and helpers, plasterers and stucco masons, tile and marble setters, maybe HVAC installers.   The CISC estimates that the costs of the proposed rule are understated approximately by a factor of at least four.

 

The Solution:  

 

The International Council of Employers of Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers believes OSHA should withdraw its proposed rule until it can put forth a proposal that addresses the concerns set forth in the CISC’s comments.  ICE recommends that OSHA accept the invitation from the CISC to sit down to discuss the appropriate approach in dealing with the hazards of crystalline silica on construction worksites.

 

Key Points: 

 

  • OSHA‘s proposed crystalline silica rule is potentially the most far-reaching regulatory initiative proposed by OSHA for the construction industry.

  • OSHA has not met its burden of demonstrating that the proposal is technologically and economically feasible.

  • OSHA’s proposed rule is simply unworkable for the construction industry. OSHA has not shown that the proposed PEL can be met by the construction industry in most operations most of the time.

  • OSHA has underestimated the cost of the proposed rule by a factor of at least 4.  CISC now estimates a cost to the industry of $2.2 billion per year.

  • OSHA should withdraw its proposed rule until it can put forth a proposal that addresses the concerns set forth in the CISC’s comments.

  • The CISC welcomes the opportunity to sit down with OSHA to discuss the appropriate approach in dealing with the hazards of crystalline silica on construction worksites.

 

Status:   

Public hearings have concluded. The post-hearing comment period is underway and will conclude on July 18.  

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Contact Us

Matthew S. Aquiline

Chief Executive Officer

 

1306 Lancaster Avenue

Pittsburgh, PA 15218

Telephone : ​202-210-6069

Email : maquiline@icebac.org

 

International Council of Employers of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers